[GW,SW:ToR] Inversion

Many of the design oddities I am citing in Guild Wars arise from its development path. It was not built as an MMO, but it has accumulated MMO elements over time, grafted interestingly but sometimes awkwardly onto its frame.

Everything I read about The Old Republic suggests that oddities arise from its developers. Without having played, my sense of the internet consensus is that this is a wonderful, brilliant, elegantly crafted single player game with excellent polish, story, and voice work. And that it completely lacks anything that attracts and retains MMO players except for having WoW-like gameplay.

Personally, I am quite happy with the notion of a game that has an intended finish rather than an eternal grind, but that has gotten about as far as possible from the old notion of an MMO as a virtual world, and it does not mesh well with a subscription model. But what do I know? I am not the target audience for “WoW with lightsabers,” and those are not my hundreds of millions of dollars invested.

: Zubon

4 thoughts on “[GW,SW:ToR] Inversion”

  1. “And that it completely lacks anything that attracts and retains MMO players except for having WoW-like gameplay.”

    I think this reflects more on some of the bitchier elements of the blogosphere. Bear in mind that we really know so little about what actually retains MMO players, and a lot of solid games that might have expected to do this have disappointed. And there are plenty of bloggers who give the impression that it wouldn’t be possible to make a game that would make them happy.

    SWTOR actually has some really cool multiplayer elements. Bioware have done something genuinely interesting with the group conversation system that actually does make it quite fun to play through with a group. Even multiple times for the more story based quests/ instances, because you want to see the other conversation paths. Is it massive? I don’t know. They’ve also done some fun puzzle related stuff that I haven’t seen in recent MMO design.

    I think it gets berated unfairly, I don’t know what retention will be like, but it is a fun game. One of the best games I’ve ever played for duoing also.

  2. I think a better question than “what works for retention in an MMO?” is one of “How much churn does an MMO face?” If Tor provides primarily a beefed up single player game, without much of the traditional endgame dressings, which is at least how I’ve seen it in my gameplay, then if they wind up only holding each subscriber for a few months as they play through the content, and then leave and is replaced by another inquisitive newcomer, then the game could do reasonably well even with a fairly high month to month churn rate.

    While Tor has a fairly high budget, even when compared to other major Bioware showings, such as Mass Effect 2, but if everyone who purchases the game lasts 4 months with it has essentially doubled the number of sales.

    If Bioware designed it as essentially a single player game, and base their business plan around that model, it might be considered as succesful as Mass Effect 2, which Tor actually outsold in their respective first week. If that’s Bioware’s intent, then I don’t really question their business plan, nor their success, only their sustainability. But if they were planning on minimal long term sustainment, run it for a year then shut it down, then treating it as a single player game might actually be a profitable manuver.

  3. I wonder what effect the release of Mass Effect 3 will have on the game, I could imagine that there will be as big a loss of subs as after the free month, players leaving to play that game for a few weeks and not feeling the desire to resubscribe. For almost 6 years WoW and it’s expansions were the only releases for Blizzard. There’s only so much time people can devote to a game, and with all Bioware games being especially time consuming they might be competing with themselves. The GW model might have been a better fit, no sub and pay for the content in portions, pretty much like the DLC model Bioware have had for their other recent releases.

    1. I pretty much agree with your thoughts. With the GW model, consumers would IMHO be more likely to return after unsubbing. Now, the content bringing them back has to be worth the energy/cost of re-subbing.

      Still there is a lot to be said about parking lot subs, and slow players that are fine paying double/triple to play through a normal BioWare game.

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